The Century Turned

The earth is dreaming wonder-bound; the moon is clear and still,
The wind scarce breaths, the whole world lies aswoon,
Hushed silence broods o’er dale and wood and hill,
And something old is dying; something new is being born.

A century shall close, or o’er the blue
Of deep midnight shall tremble into morn,
How strange it is to watch the minutes creep
Steadily by,
While everything aroun d is rapped in sleep,
All heedless of the passing century.

And ah! How strange the long, long backward look upon an age,
It is as though the reader of a book
At length had turned the last reluctant page,
And now the tale, solemn, sonorous, calm, draws to its close
With all the stately movement of a psalm,
And steeped in glory of a profound repose.
A century is going as the clock clicks, and again cliicks,
And the impatient minutes crowd and flock,
Their passport for the infinite to obtain.
The click beats slower – slower as the year dies in the night.

Now as the last faint throb of pusle draws near,
Impotent time, faltering, checks his flight.
The clock groans the inevitable stoke is struck at last.
Suddenly, far away the bells have woke,
To greet the future to extol the past,

One chapter in God’s history now doth fill the allotted scope.
Leave it, perforce, wether writ well or ill;
The heading of the next one is “Good Hope”.

From the Gazette of January 1911, reproduced from Saved from the Waters
By Wolford Wood, the pen-name of a former Tenth Hussar.
The lines were written on the closing dauys of the 19th Century.